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Ideological Hegemony

Matthew C. Mahutga and Judith Stepan-Norris


Ideological hegemony theorizes the way in which relationships of domination and exploitation are embedded in the dominant ideas of society. To the extent that dominant ideas are internalized, they induce consent to these relationships on the part of the dominated and exploited. Consistent with the interconnected world in which we live, there are as many levels of ideological hegemony as there are levels of society. The concept of ideological hegemony has deep historical and theoretical roots in the development of Marxist thought during the twentieth century. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Marxist theorists and parties were faced with the absence or failure of worldwide communist revolutions. The concept sought to explain why workers were not gaining control of their states. One of the earliest theorists to develop these ideas and use the phraseology of bourgeois hegemony explicitly was Georg Lukács (1885–1971 ). Lukács was active in the Hungarian Communist Party after World War I. He remained loyal to the Communist Party throughout his lifetime, but became increasingly critical of it toward the end of his life. Lukács's most important contribution was arguably History and Class Consciousness , published in 1923. Though greatly influenced by the writing of V. I. Lenin, Lukács unequivocally claimed to have been producing an exposition of Marx's theory as “Marx understood ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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